How to Ace a Corporate Board Seat Interview

If a board decides to hire an individual member the process typically involves a formal interview. Board members must be prepared for questions that range from how their skills and abilities will benefit the company to the reasons why they would like to be part of the board. They should also have a good sense of how much time they can commit to the position.

Boards typically seek strategic insights, not executive thinking, according to Garland McLellan, founder of Board Ready, a board consulting firm. That means that the interviewer is looking for someone who can engage in a high-level conversation asking good questions and challenge the company's thinking.

A good candidate for a board position will offer their own perspective on the business issues and strategies of a potential employer, but also be open to hearing the perspectives of other interviewers. They should be able to offer an honest and balanced opinion, even if the company's performance isn't satisfactory.

The interviewer can also ask candidates to assess the co-legiality and culture of the boardroom. This is particularly crucial in a publicly traded company where the board's relationship with shareholders may be at risk. A board could also ask candidates to declare any conflicts of interest they may have that could impact their ability to add value. A conflict of interest that is exposed could be detrimental to the board's strategy and could may have serious legal implications in the worst case scenario. If candidates' answer is to be taken into consideration as a conflict of interest, they must be prepared to disclose any relevant affiliations or relationships.


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